Duke College Republicans has followed up on today’s article by a response posted on their website.
Here is a copy of the response I wrote. I submitted it as a comment to their position, and it is currently(12/13 12:38 AM) pending moderation:
Dear Duke College Republicans,
I do not believe your group to be comprised of homophobes. To claim that this is what I asserted in my column would be a misreading. I criticized your group for one thing, and for one thing alone: for failing to speak out against NC Amendment One, as a group or as individuals.
As I stated on the Duke Democrats blog, “I think the current group Duke CRs are guilty of only one thing–silence on the Marriage Discrimination Amendment. Silence has profound consequences–but it is resolved easily by speaking out. At the point in which members of DukeCR, as individuals or as an organization speak out about the Marriage Discrimination Amendment, their fellow Duke students and North Carolinians will congratulate them for their courage, thank them for their support, and enthusiastically welcome into a coalition dedicated to keeping discrimination out our constitution.”
I meant my column not as an excoriation of your group, but rather, as a call to action.
You assert that, “We all believe in the need for equal rights, from taxation to healthcare, to be provided to couples of all orientations.” Amendment One would make it impossible for LGBT couples to have the same rights as do straight couples, precisely on issues like taxation and healthcare. It would legally prevent the state of North Carolina from treating LGBT couples the way they treat straight couples.
I know that many people feel that the word “marriage” should be reserved for men and women. This isn’t a view I agree with, but it is one that I understand, and for those who feel that way but want to still ensure that queer couples are treated in the same way that straight couples are treated vis a vis civil unions or domestic partnerships, I think we have a lot of common ground and can be allies against discrimination.
I want to remind all of you that there are already laws on the books in North Carolina that define marriage as only between men and women.
The fight for this amendment then, is exactly about what your group claims to stand for: “equal rights, from taxation to healthcare, to be provided to couples of all orientations.”
There is nothing that your group could do that would make it clearer that you stand behind your belief of “equal rights, from taxation to healthcare, to be provided to couples of all orientations” than to join Duke Democrats and other student groups in the Coalition for an Inclusive NC. This does not have to be done at a whole group level, and instead could be done by you as individuals.
I think it is important that Duke Dems and Duke CR continue to debate spiritedly and respectfully about North Carolina and United States politics. If your group comments on specific policies, then our group will respond. If your group makes statements about ideology (as it did with its “library”), then we will respond to these too. We encourage you to to do the same, so that Duke students can continue to see the diversity of opinions on this campus.
I do not agree that my column constituted a “vehement attack on [your members] character;” it criticized your group for failing to speak out against the Amendment One. I stand by my statement that this issue has a strong moral component–it is an issue of basic justice and toleration for LGBT individuals. I remind you again that the pecadillo I have accused you of (silence) is one that can be immediately rectified by speaking out. When you do, I will celebrate your decision to do so.
I don’t think what your group wrote above is compatible with supporting Amendment One. If there are any members of your group that stand by the statement that your group just wrote (e.g. support “equal rights, from taxation to healthcare, to be provided to couples of all orientations”) that can explain to me why they support Amendment One, I would be eager to hear that explanation.
Co-President of Duke Dems